be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside

The side panels of the be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 can be removed by loosening the two thumbscrews at the back. Once loosened, these captive thumbscrews remain attached while users can slide the panels out and remove them. Each panel has three hooks on the top and bottom to keep them in place. As such, the panels are interchangeable between each side. The tempered glass side is standard with a thick pane of glass attached to a steel frame. It has an opaque black border around the edge to provide users an area to hold the side without leaving marks. It is not tinted at all, giving users a clear view of the components inside. Unfortunately, we do not have any dampening foam or rubber to prevent vibration between the panel and the rest of the case. The solid steel side, on the other hand, has a layer of sound dampening material to reduce the noise output. It is a thin and dense layer, which adds a bit of weight to the steel side.

The front panel pops off from the bottom edge, as there is an opening here. You can pop the bottom off the ball-and-socket joints and slide the top off. The top I/O is fixed to the rest of the case so there are no cables attached. Instead, there is an exposed set of pads on the bottom edge, which line up with pogo pins on the front plastic panel. This powers the ARGB light strip here. On the back of the plastic, you can also see a layer of sound dampening foam. This solid plastic can be removed and swapped out with an included mesh insert, as you will see later on. Otherwise, once you remove the front panel, you can also take off the plastic filter, which reduces dust from getting sucked in here. These metal rails can also be removed by loosening the thumbscrews so users can mount their cooling without being inside the Dark Base Pro 901. Another thin magnetic mesh filter can be found at the bottom. This is separated so it can be removed when installing a 5.25" optical drive.

The fans found here are two retail-grade Silent Wings 4 140mm PWM high-speed fans. As such, each of them reaches a maximum rotational speed of 1900RPM, providing an airflow of 78.4CFM and an air pressure of 2.36mmH2O. According to the manufacturer, this has a lifespan of 300,000 hours with its fluid dynamic bearings keeping a maximum 29.3dBA of noise output. By default, these fans are plugged into the integrated fan controller.

Peering inside, you can see the be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 keeps a typical open-concept design with the primary divider to separate the power supply basement. Everything here is black and keeps the conservative design from the outside. The paint on these panels does not scratch off easily, which is good to see. The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901 can hold E-ATX motherboards, which is no surprise considering how large the interior is. While this comes in the default configuration, you can also invert the interior around, similar to the Dark Base Pro 900, so that it faces the opposite direction.

At the back, you will see the large opening behind the motherboard. This is helpful for installing third-party coolers, as you can change the mounting mechanism while keeping the motherboard mounted. This is also one large opening above the motherboard for cables to route and connect here. Moving further up, there are three 4-pin PWM headers, which is part of the case fan controller. At the top, there are mounting rails for users to install cooling options. These rails are installed with thumbscrews so users can attach fans or radiators outside of the Dark Base Pro 901 before putting it back in. Here, you can mount up to three 120mm or 140mm fans. It can hold radiators up to 360mm in length too. At the back, we have the same 140mm Silent Wings 4 PWM high-speed fan as we saw on the front. Finally, above the rails are a pair of removable solid panels. These are lined with acoustic dampening foam to reduce more noise, but can be removed if you do end up populating this area with fans or radiators.

Down to the bottom, we can see the expansion slot covers. There is a total of eight slots, which is typical for a full-tower case. As mentioned previously, you can rotate these slots to accommodate for vertical mounting of your video cards. At the bottom, you can see the divider between the power supply and the rest of the chassis is a solid panel. The other thing you can see here is the fact we have a thin translucent line on the edge of the power supply shroud. This is another addressable RGB LED light strip that is plugged into the controller. Finally, there is a notable gap at the back for users to pass wires and cables through here, which generally will be your front I/O connectors.

Towards the front, we have the other side view of the two front fans. As expected, these are mounted on rails to so you can install more cooling options here. This includes up to three 120mm or 140mm fans or a radiator up to 420mm in size. If you do choose to do this, you will need to remove the opening at the bottom which leads into the basement. Depending on the thickness of your radiator and fans, you may also need to remove the drive cage underneath. Moving on, you can see there are actually no rubber grommets around the routing holes to the right of the motherboard. Instead, we have a metal shroud that covers visibility from one side while still allowing users to route cables through. All of the holes are folded over with smooth edges to prevent users from accidentally cutting their cables or fingers here.

At the front, you will notice a set of five plastic covers. This is where you can install 3.5" or 2.5" disk drives. You will need a drive bay, which you can either take from the basement drive cage or obtain separately. If you instead want to use this area as air intake, you can also remove this entire area and swap it out with an included set of fan rails. This lines up with the ventilated side panel out the back.

On the other side of the be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901, we have the area behind the motherboard for cable management. At the front we have the aforementioned five slots for mounting storage options. Down the middle, we have a relatively large cable valley in the middle for users to lead cables through. There are two pre-attached Velcro straps that hold all of the front I/O cables together. These cables are all sleeved in black and blend in well with the rest of the enclosure. At the top, you can see a better picture of the clearance above the motherboard tray, which is quite spacious. Behind the motherboard area, there are two metal trays for mounting 2.5" drives, such as SSDs. When mounted, these have space near the connections so the cables attached to your SSDs are not bent too much. There are routing holes to organize these cables with multiple tie-down points to keep them neat. Otherwise, there is a lot of space at the back for cable management. At a minimum, we have 2.7cm between the side panel and the case, which is good for even thicker cables.

At the bottom, we have a drive cage at the front with two metal bays included for two 3.5" or four 2.5" storage options. As such, users can install up to two 3.5" or six 2.5" drives in the Dark Base Pro 901 with the included equipment. At full capacity with additional cages purchased, you can increase the count to a maximum of seven 3.5" and sixteen 2.5" options. It is a bit of a shame those with more than two 3.5" drives would require to purchase additional equipment, but at least there is space to do so if need be. Next to the drive cage, we have the area for the power supply. The area is lined with foam to reduce any vibrations that may occur from the power supply.

As I mentioned, there are many accessories with the be quiet! Dark Base Pro 901, and they are found in two separate cardboard boxes. From left to right, we have a perforated plastic tray that can be used to provide ventilation between the power supply. This is because users actually have the option to install one more 120mm or 140mm fan in the place of the drive cage. Underneath, we have the set of rails to allow for mounting fans or radiators on the side. This can accommodate up to three 120mm fans or a 360mm radiator. Next, the mesh panel can be used in the front for more airflow. Underneath, the C-bracket is a graphics card holder with added capabilities to route the power cables through. Next to this is a translucent plastic box, which holds some screws and some Velcro straps. The rest of the screws can be found in individual plastic pouches. Three metal shells are included here to help with propping up your graphics card when it is mounted vertically, mounting an optical disk drive, and managing cables with an extended ATX motherboard. Finally, the large plastic piece on the right is used to hide cables near the hard drive cage near the front. It is pretty neat to see all of these accessories included out of the box, as it lets users change up the Dark Base Pro 901 to their desire.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion